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CAI Intakes

ChevyGuy54

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Looking at getting one but had a few questions. I did research but seem to find conflicting things.

• does a CAI increase fuel economy/hp?
• will it void my factory warranty?
• do I need to have the thing tuned so it won’t throw a code or hurt anything?

I come from old carb motors where there is none of this reflash/reprogramming stuff. You just through the part on and messed with the carb some and went. No check engine lights or anything. Any help and or testimonials would be appreciated.
 
Me too, I prefer the easy see everything old motors ! I looked into those questions. Generally, CAIs "may" help the mpg. The warranty will not be an issue and I have not come across any tuned/flashed systems. Another "upgrade" that seems to be a yay or nay and just a cash drop. For me, I wanted one in the hopes it might help. It may have but maybe 1-2 mpg. I also have bigger,heavier tires and wheels than stock. I did notice a deeper acceleration sound and a little responsive feel(especially getting up to highway speeds-wheeee). I have an S&B with a throttle body spacer(another $ drop item-whether it works like they say?) and a Stillen intake scoop. After all this I deleted my muffler and locked open the flapper. My truck has a noisy cold start and the driving noise(growl) is about right for me. 19 TB Custom 5.3, good luck on deciding !
 
I have a cold air inductions intake and have had it for about a year now. The only way you will get the best/most benefit from it is to have it tuned. I didn’t gain any mpg until I started running higher octane. All this new tech and any changes you make to certain areas require a tune to make the best performance out of it. Still worth it even without a tune tho. The last few tanks of gas I’ve ran I’ve used 91 octane and am at 19+mpg up from the 16 I was getting at 87. We do usually get crap gas in NY tho 🤷🏼‍♂️
 
Ok. How much does a tune usually cost? I have 16k on my truck and rarely run highway maybe a 5-6 miles stretch here or there and I’m at 18.7mpg average and that’s on 87 octane.
 
It depends. Before I bought this truck I had a WRX and the place I brought it to for a dyno tune was a few hundred. I know more about tuning with my previous car than I do these trucks but electronics suck lol
 
Ouch. N yea electronics suck! Like I said I’m used to throwing a part on and using a screw driver to adjust a screw. Done.
 
No tune, 6.2 w/ K&N 55 series intake & filter, due to it being $155, I used the excess for the ram air scoop from Stillen.
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There are only 2 ways you can get a tune. GM has these trucks locked down. Nobody has cracked the code yet.

Option #1, get the GM CAI. It's pricy, but you're paying for tune up front. Once the intake is installed you take it to the dealer for the tune. GM has info on the paperwork that comes with for the dealership to follow how to bill GM, etc. Full factory warranty with a small claimed bump in hp, and California CARB compliant. $600 for the kit, plus $120 every 20,000 miles for a new filter. I find the filter significantly cheaper on rockauto.com. K&N was contracted by GM to manufacture the CAI, but won't say anything about using their filter recharge kit. I already asked. Reading between the lines I decided to try the recharge kit. It has been a successful endeavor so far. No issues, and I'm not dropping substantial coin for the filter every 20k miles.

Option #2 will cost you about $2k. Buy an unlocled ECU via websites like gmpartsdirect.com and send it to HPTuners. They'll program the ECU for you.
 
 Tune
 Q
: Do you need one with a CAI?
 A: Not always. Why? Depends if you've changed the metering location of the MAF Sensor.

The PCM is capable of making minor adjustments. I'd have to ask/look but it's like +/- 1%-3% range. What that means, is it can adjust a slight bit based on the O2 to MAF Sensor Air/Fuel adjustment as the vehicle sensors start reading parameters while they get dirty & worn, or even a clogged air filter. So as long as the MAF is still metering air in a similar location as stock, it should be fine.


MAF Position
-If the MAF meters too much air, it'll result in a rich condition, burning more fuel than necessary, building excess carbon on the plugs, intake valves, and blowby into the oil.
-If the MAF meters too little of the air, you'll get a lean condition, this could result in boiling the piston tops during harsh WOT or load conditions, possibly crack a ring land, and even ping/pre-det resulting in wear to the piston wrist pins or bearings.

The intake manufacturers have to test for both of these and see what the O2 numbers look like from factory, compared to aftermarket, to see if their product is going to warrant a tune or not.

Given not one aftermarket intake manufacturer requires a tune, means no performance benefit from my cheap K&N 55 option vs the more expensive options.

The intake is just to make a less restrictive path for air to flow. The throttle body and cam/intake valve profile will ultimately determine how much more air is pulled in per cylinder cycle, not the intake. However the MAF position (compared to stock) and how much air it meters can effect the air fuel mix, which then would require a tune.
 
Looking at getting one but had a few questions. I did research but seem to find conflicting things.

• does a CAI increase fuel economy/hp?
• will it void my factory warranty?
• do I need to have the thing tuned so it won’t throw a code or hurt anything?

I come from old carb motors where there is none of this reflash/reprogramming stuff. You just through the part on and messed with the carb some and went. No check engine lights or anything. Any help and or testimonials would be appreciated.
A good cold air intake does help increase fuel economy and horsepower.

It will not void your warranty as you are protected by the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, which states that a manufacturer cannot deny warranty coverage based on the presence of an aftermarket part, unless they can prove that the aftermarket part is the source of the issue at hand. I had to have some lifters replaced on my truck after I had installed a cold air intake and a cat-back exhaust system, and it wasn't even brought up and they fixed my lifters under warranty, without question.

When I installed my K&N cold air intake, I did so before I had a tune as no one was able to crack these ECM's yet at that point. All I had to do was turn off my air filter warnings in my digital dashboard screen controls, and I had no issues after that even without a tune. But a tune helped the intake perform even better.
 
I have had hptuners and done some light tuning on my 2000 z28 for the last several years. Incredibly fun and not overly intimidating with all the resources out there for these engines. I also bought a wibeband as a safety tool to know how effective my changes are.

That said, I wouldn’t touch this truck with that tuner with a 10 foot pole, at least not with my current knowledge base. First, as stated earlier; GM has it locked down, so you have to pull the ECM and send it off to have it unlocked for $550. I’m sure that a shop would need to do something similar before they did it. Also, the electronic sorcery in this truck is miles ahead of what I’m used to. I converted my Camaro from a 4 speed auto to a 6 speed manual but the intricacy of a 10 speed alone is too much.

All that to say, I’m sure it’s cake for a reputable shop. I would just be cautious chasing a few horsepower by messing with a tune. CAI and catback is probably as much as many of us will ever do and the engine can easily compensate for that additional airflow without messing with fueling tables. You don’t NEED a tune for those.
 
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